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May 07, 2003


Pointed out via Instapundit, Blissful Knowledge nails down one more "Jewish conspiracy"
Check out this fascinating piece in today's NYT about a search in Iraq:

In one huge room in the flooded basement of the building, American soldiers from MET Alpha, the "mobile exploitation team" that has been searching for nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in Iraq for the past three months, found maps featuring terrorist strikes against Israel dating to 1991. Another map of Israel highlighted what the Iraqis thought were the locations at which their Scud missiles had struck in the Persian Gulf war of 1991. The strikes were designated by yellow-and-red paper flowers placed atop the pinpointed Israeli neighborhoods.
Team members floated out of the room a perfect mock-up of the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, as well as mock-ups of downtown Jerusalem and official Israeli buildings in very fine detail. They also collected a satellite picture of Dimona, Israel's nuclear complex, and a female mannequin dressed in an Israeli Air Force uniform, standing in front of a list of Israeli officers' ranks and insignia.
Of even greater interest to MET Alpha was a "top secret" intelligence memo found in a room on another floor. Written in Arabic and dated May 20, 2001, the memo from the Iraqi intelligence station chief in an African country described an offer by a "holy warrior" to sell uranium and other nuclear material. The bid was rejected, the memo states, because of the United Nations "sanctions situation." But the station chief wrote that the source was eager to provide similar help at a more convenient time.

As Best of the Web points out, this would seem to further disprove commonly-heard claims that Saddam was unlikely to cooperate with Islamic fundamentalists (or that such cooperation would only come about due to the Bush Administration's threats of war; note the May 2001 date). But why were they searching this building in the first place?

What began today as a hunt for an ancient Jewish text at secret police headquarters here wound up unearthing a trove of Iraqi intelligence documents and maps relating to Israel as well as offers of sales of uranium and other nuclear materials to Iraq.
...The search began this morning when 16 soldiers from MET Alpha teamed up with members of the Iraqi National Congress, a leading opposition group headed by Ahmad Chalabi, to search for what an intelligence source had described as one of the most ancient copies of the Talmud in existence, dating from the seventh century. The Talmud is a book of oral law, with rabbinical commentaries and interpretations.
A former senior official of the Mukhabarat, Saddam Hussein's secret police, had told the opposition group a few days earlier that he had hidden the ancient Jewish book in the basement of his headquarters. The building had been badly damaged by coalition bombing, said the man, who is now working for the Iraqi National Congress, but he was still willing to take a group there to recover it. MET Alpha hesitated. Its mission was hunting for proof of unconventional weapons in Iraq, not saving cultural and religious treasures. But Col. Richard R. McPhee, its commander, decided that the historic Talmud was too valuable to leave behind.

Can't you see the narrative taking hold? First, the story was that the U.S. military guarded the oil wells while neglecting the National Museum, thus encouraging looting and the loss of Iraqi cultural treasures. Add to that the story that while doing those things, the U.S. was also searching for an ancient copy of the Talmud. (That crazed Jewish neoconservative cabal is at it again...)Somewhere, Noam Chomsky is writing his next book.
(Yes, the links in the previous paragraph will take you to debunkings of those Baghdad-style urban legends, not to the initial peddling of those stories. Think of it as the next generation of Fisking. And as always, technicalities of factual and temporal discrepancies will be easily surmounted in formulating the narrative.)